(sip, swallow…) “Ahh,” the sound of thirst-quenching refreshment.
Whether you’re traveling, laying on the beach, or spending more time outdoors, hydration is especially important in the warm summer months. Besides helping to prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion, adequate hydration can contribute to your summer fun!
With longer days and shorter nights, quality sleep is essential. Adequate hydration helps you sleep better to prevent daytime fatigue. Getting the water you need allows efficient conversion of food to fuel and swift oxygen delivery to working muscles that are busy at play. Proper hydration helps your joints, allowing bones to move without friction by way of adequate synovial fluid which acts as a lubricant. That makes exercise easier. Fun! 😊
Don’t wait until thirsty to drink, as by that time, you’re already mildly dehydrated. Other signs and symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include dry sticky mouth, dry skin, headache, reduced urine output, dark urine, muscle cramps, constipation, stomach upset, dizziness, sleepiness, and fatigue. Definitely not fun. ☹
You might ask, “Can’t I make up for it by drinking a lot later?” Well, we don’t have a storage tank for water – true, it’s in our blood, tissues, and lymph but it’s not good to hyper-inflate and dilute these areas. Plus, we use water every minute for normal body processes. Drinking water throughout the day is simply the best way to consistently stay hydrated. Remember to drink before going out in the sun; it’s easier than playing catch-up.
How much to drink? An easy rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (pounds) in fluid ounces. For example, a 160-pound healthy adult would need 80 ounces of liquid. More is needed to compensate for extra sweat and respiratory losses due to heat or exercise.
5 Tips on Staying Hydrated
1. Mix It – Straight water is great but not a must. Mix plain cool water with fruits and herbs or infuse with cucumber for variety. Add a squeeze of lemon, lime or grapefruit to your H2O for zing. Carbonation is fine, too – seltzers and sparkling waters hydrate just as well as flat water.
2. Drink Up – Most beverages provide 85% available water or more. Soup counts too! The thinner the liquid (i.e. juice or broth), the more water is bound into it than thicker liquids such as smoothies or bisque. We recommend grabbing a smoothie from select City Sports Club juice bars for a healthy and refreshing drink!
Average caffeine intake doesn’t affect hydration and caffeinated beverages in moderation (4-5 cups of coffee per day, or approximately 400 mg caffeine) do contribute to daily water requirements.1
Research is inconclusive whether alkaline water and pure coconut water may help improve hydration,2,3 though these beverages can still contribute to fluid needs.
3. Chow Down – Watery produce like grapes, cucumber, oranges, lettuce and melon double-up as hydration sources. If it drips when you squeeze it, chances are it’s high in fluid and will contribute to your overall needs. Foods that absorb water during cooking such as oatmeal and pasta also add to fluid needs. Even drier solid foods (less than 20% moisture) can contribute to metabolic water.
A preliminary study showed that hydration is not significantly affected by short-term (less than 3 months) high protein intake in people with good kidney function.4 Prolonged high protein intake, especially for those with renal insufficiency, might negatively impact hydration as the kidneys fail to compensate for the high acid load.5
4. Go Big – Drinking more each sitting may be easier than finding the time or remembering to drink between meals later. Feel free to up-size your water glass or cup! Use a larger refillable bottle for on-the-go drinking. Avoid consuming large quantities close to bedtime though, to prevent overnight bathroom trips.
5. Track It – Logging how much you consume will enable you to see your progress and may keep you motivated to reach your hydration goal. Daily record keeping is also a great way to stay focused. There are several good fluid intake tracking apps for smartphones, and most are free.
Overall, to avoid dehydration the volume of fluids is more important than the type. However you choose to hydrate, enjoy each cool sip. Stay active, friends!
- Effects of Caffeine on Hydration Status: Evidence Analysis Review. E Mullens, F Jimenez. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016 Sept; 116(9): A78.
- Alkaline and Plant Waters – What’s Behind the Trend? Esther Ellis. Today’s Dietitian, 2017 Sept. 19(9): 46.
- Acid-Base balance and hydration status following consumption of mineral-based alkaline bottled Water. DP Heil. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2010; 7:29.
- Effects of Dietary Protein Intake on Indexes of Hydration. WF Martin, et al. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2006 Apr; 106(4): 587-589.
- Dietary Influence on Body Fluid Acid-Base and Volume Balance: The Deleterious “Norm” Furthers and Cloaks Subclinical Pathology. Qi Qian. Nutrients, 2018 Jun; 10(6): 778.